Friday, September 23, 2016

Home with My Sisters by Mary Carter

There were times when the writing was rough and the story didn't quite hold together in all the places, but this was overall a book that gave me some warm feels.
The book opens with an elderly woman revealing to her neighbor that her cancer is going to cause her death, probably before the new year. Then, she tells him that she has three granddaughters, about whom he's never known. And she wants them to come for Christmas. In order to get them there, he's to tell them that they will inherit her estate. And it's a pretty big chunk of change.
Hope is ecstatic. She's been trying to get her sisters together for the holidays for years. Her older sister Faith took off pregnant at seventeen and left them to the dubious care of their mother. The youngest sister, Joy, is flighty and also isn't talking to Hope at the moment. Hope is just trying to ride out the holidays so she can break up with her boyfriend when neighbor Michael appears on her doorstep. Well, not exactly her doorstep, at the shelter where she works. After having just taken in a bloodhound.
The three of them are off (since Hope's boyfriend decides to break up with her, Merry Christmas! (she's actually very relieved)) to find Joy. She's panhandling with her boyfriend but Hope and Michael are able to follow her and her boyfriend to the boyfriend's mother's apartment where Joy is at first reluctant to come up to visit their grandmother, but then learns of the money and decides to come along. And the portrayal of Joy was problematic. She was painted as being perceived as money-grubbing by her sisters, but we were supposed to be seeing her in this different light because of a side she wasn't showing them. And frankly, the money-grubbing was way more apparent than the other.
And Faith, the oldest, shows up with her two children, even though she was supposed to spend one last holiday playing Happy Families with her husband. It seems he caught her cheating and their marriage is about to be kaput. Faith was also a character that was difficult to like, since she is so concerned with staying thin and fit and not at all concerned about her children, barely even noticing that her son is on the verge of committing suicide.
There are some major themes in this book like suicide, mental illness, and racism (Joy's boyfriend is black) but many of them are dealt with rather perfunctorily -- here's a problem, it's bad, now we've fixed it. The swiftness of it bothered me but somehow the book overall charmed me.

This book comes out September 27
Three and a half stars

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